March 5, 2007
IOWA CITY — Saturday afternoon was an emotion-filled three hours for fans of the Hawkeyes and a pair of fixtures in the lineup for Coach Steve Alford’s University of Iowa men’s basketball team: Seniors Adam Haluska and Mike Henderson.
Haluska and Henderson – the only two seniors on this year’s Hawkeye squad – left the playing floor of Carver-Hawkeye Arena after their final regular season home game the same way they entered it: With a victory. Haluska, Iowa’s sharp-shooting guard scored a game-high 21 points and Henderson scored Iowa’s final five points in the thrilling 60-53 victory over the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois.
The victory pushed Iowa into a tie for fourth place in the final regular season standings for 2007 in Big Ten Conference action and was the 44th win at home during the last three seasons.
“It’s about protecting home” said Haluska, the Big Ten’s regular season scoring champion with a 20.8 points per game average over the grueling 16-game league season.
“I can remember when I first started playing here, we talked about it and wrote it on the board, it was all about protecting home and I thought that we have done a good job of it. We play well here and our fans do a great job of being supportive.”
As is Alford’s custom, “Senior Day” activities were staged immediately after the final buzzer. Emotions always run high for these events and Saturday was no different.
“It’s tough, this place is so dear to me, I love it here” said Haluska. “I love being a Hawkeye, the fans are great, the people are great, and I just really appreciate every second I can play out on that floor. I have the memories and I’ll always be a Hawkeye.”
Henderson added, “It’s difficult, Adam and I were talking about it in the locker room. It is just something you take for granted, and it is tough knowing that is gone.”
“From rebounding, to how he guards, and what he does off the floor, to being a two-time academic all-American. You just don’t get kids with that kind of package very often. We are very appreciative of him.”
Steve Alford on Adam Haluska
“He has made so much improvement since he transferred to Iowa” Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said of Haluska.
“I remember the summer before he transferred here, I was talking to one of the Iowa State coaches and he said Haluska is just a shooter. He is way beyond that now. He is a great athlete and I really think he has a future.”
“He’s a special kid” said Alford. “It’s great seeing him conclude Big Ten play being the conferences leading scorer. He had a very special senior year.”
Haluska is an academic all-American and has improved his game every year that he has played.
“From rebounding, to how he guards, and what he does off the floor, to being a two-time academic all-American. You just don’t get kids with that kind of package very often. We are very appreciative of him,” Haluska’s head coach said.
Haluska and Henderson and the rest of the Hawkeyes square off against Purdue on Friday in the second game of the second round of the 2007 Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament. Game time inside Chicago’s United Center is set for shortly after 1:30 p.m. Iowa time. The game will be televised live by ESPN.